Growing trend alert: White men who possess a whole heck of a lot of soul. Case in point, Mayer Hawthorne.
I remember hearing a song off his debut, “A Strange Arrangement” at a bar one night, and after pressing Shazam, I was equally impressed by the fact he was white. This week Hawthorne released his sophomore album, “How Do You Do“, and it’s an impressive improvement on an already excellent sound. He seems to have found a stride here, by tightening his lyrics, the delivery, and the musical style. Early favorites are “Walk” and “No Strings” — a slightly tongue-in-cheek song about a one-night stand — and the rest of the album is quickly finding its way to my “most-played album list” this week.
At the root of “How Do You Do” is a modern soul, R&B, Motown groove, featuring songs mostly about the ups and downs of being in love. Hawthorne has pushed beyond the barrier of imitation by actually creating an album that represents the genre, and simply doesn’t awkwardly mimic it. When he sings “And you can walk your long legs baby right out of my life” on “Walk” — the album’s third single — Hawthorne isn’t just channeling Motown Soul, he is Motown Soul…